The Churning Miasma, and the Cosmic 2×4

In my blog posts, I speak often of the Churning Miasma, and the Cosmic 2×4. What do I mean by these terms? Like my mother, I love to make up my own words and phrases. It’s the best way for me to quickly communicate something intangible in an easy to understand way. I love these terms because by themselves, they carry a visual weight. Can’t you just visualize the Cosmic 2×4 or the Churning Miasma? 

The Churning Miasma

When I face ongoing problems and I feel mired down, if I could see what I was going through, I’d see everything I’m thinking about, worried about, exploring, talking about, investigating, and creating. It would be about three feet above my head in a huge churning gray whirlpool. It’s too much to take in. I can’t focus or see any one thing. It wont’ slow down. It’s a giddy feeling because then I know I am on the cusp of understanding something. I call this The Churning Miasma. It seems the only way to describe this. 

I need to be still and stop searching for logical reasons about what’s going on during this time period. Trying to pull it apart and discover what it’s all about is useless. The churning miasma is not something that can be picked apart and analyzed. Nor can it be slowed down. It must be left alone to do it’s thing. Sitting still now and then would be better. Eventually it all coalesces after days or weeks, and it drops in my head and heart in a nanosecond. Even after that happens, I cannot say exactly what was learned, or *grocked. I know that new material is in me. I can sense it inside me and it feels better! The Churning Miasma is a process of learning, experiencing, and understanding. But it is so uncomfortable while it is happening. Isn’t there always chaos before change? 

*Grocked: Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961, in which the word is described as being from the word for “to drink” and, figuratively, “to drink in all available aspects of reality”, “to become one with the observed” in Heinlein’s fictitious Martian language. 

The Cosmic 2×4

When something is trying to show itself to me but I’m not getting it that’s when the Cosmic 2×4 comes in. Have you ever heard the saying that when the Universe/Spirit is trying to get your attention first it’s a tap on the shoulder. Then a bit harder if you don’t notice, then bonk on the head or the brick wall to finally get your attention. That’s what I’m talking about. That happens to me a lot. Apparently I need three, four, or five instances to get it through my thick skull whatever is being shown to me.

I always feel like such a dolt for having been so unable to see or understand the new something was coming my way. Some new way of seeing. Some new way of letting go of the old and trying the new. Some new path opens up to me. I love having the new vision or insight and am always in gratitude. But yep, I kinda feel silly when my eyes open after the fact, that I was so stubborn I could not see it. It’s then I look back and can so easily see the ‘taps’ or hints I was getting previous to the Cosmic 2×4. How did I not see it or get it? Huh. Funny. 

You can go over my past blog entries and look for the words Cosmic 2×4 and find what I’m talking about. I always think next time I won’t be so stubborn, so unable to see the lesson. But still I am presented with that Cosmic 2×4 every now and again. It makes one humble! Lately I am able to see when the Cosmic 2×4 might be hovering around. So that is something new. Like I might be on the cusp of understanding and I’ll say, “Well I don’t want that Cosmic 2×4 coming around so I better pay attention here!” Like that. I am becoming bit more open to seeing, and a bit less stubborn. 

Do you use any self-made jargon? If you have any instances of your own churning miasma, or cosmic 2×4, I’d love to hear it. Or anything you’ve made up yourself to help describe your life’s journey. 

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, Patty.

Kintsugi and repairing painful experiences

Kintsugi “golden joinery”, also known as Kintsukuroi “golden repair”, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind” which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life. (From Wikipedia.)

When I lost my horse Silver, I experienced an act of kindness I will never forget. When my horse lay on the ground close to death, a friend and experienced horsewoman had me sit at his head and take each thumb and gently stroke inside his ears at the tips. She said “This will feel good to him, it’s a pressure point, and it will help calm you down as well. We have done all that is possible, so just let everything go and sit with your horse.” I am glad I did, because I didn’t realize I would not see him again. I thanked him for the wonderful years together, the glorious fast rides out in the desert, and his goofy demeanor and friendship. I am forever indebted to the wisdom of my friend Kristin. This act of kindness was a knitting together of the broken pieces that were already coming apart. I did not know it then.

Regarding Kintsugi: “Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.”  — Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

With Kintsugi, the damage is part of the story of the piece and is not hidden or swept under the rug. Kintsugi makes the piece whole, new, and beautiful. In terms of healing a heart it makes the trauma part of your story but it is a healed trauma. It is a new part of you and your story. Sitting with my horse as he lay close to death was hard, but it was the art of Kintsugi, making a repair, and pulling together the old pieces to make a new whole.

If you have pieces of your life’s experience that feel broken or damaged, think of the art of Kintsugi, and how those experiences make up part of who you are. They are part of a whole that makes up everything you currently are. Don’t dismiss them, and don’t embrace the damage itself as all you are either. It is part of a larger whole. In time, bad circumstances and negative events will become clearer to you. Think of the art of Kintsugi and perhaps the pain of past events will make more sense to you than they did at the time those events happened to you.

As Jim Carey said at his commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management…

“Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, Patty.

Experiencing The Now

Oh what a blissful time that was when I found The Now, where no time existed. Due to months of various physical problems (which I am totally unaccustomed to) I was down and out, sicker than a dog. My IBS was in full swing and it was new to me. I also had flu-like symptoms that laid me flat out. Those flu symptoms came ever other week for many weeks. I had other things that were a huge source of worry and it was all too much for my little head to deal with. I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of health.

I was in my guest room, a brightly colored room with ‘mango madness’ paint on the walls, and items from around the world that lent a lovely flair to the room. It is a room I hardly spend any time in, so it was a welcome change. I had a futon that looked out onto my yard and a large portion of the lovely blue New Mexico sky. As I lay there with my dogs, I was so sick I could not move. It is a very rare occurrence in my world that I am unable to physically do anything. My mind is a ‘doing mind’ and forever searching for things to fix, repair, create, or explore. Resigning to the moment was inevitable in my current physical state.

I lay there taking in the warmth of the sunshine in the afternoon sky. This felt good. As I stared out the window time seemed to stretch out on either side of me, to the left and to the right. It stretched out to infinity. Time seemed to stop and there I was. Now. Not elsewhere in my mind. Experiencing the present moment. I’ve had the experience of time stopping in dreams, but I have never had it stop for hours at a time. This was delicious!

I am nearing retirement enough to think about what it might be like as a single person. Will it be fun? Lonely? Will I ache for some ‘purpose’ after my first week of freedom? Or will I embrace the time I have left by exploring more of my world? We never know these things until we get there. People like me thrive on a purpose outside ourselves. I am not a person who watches TV in the daytime unless it is Sunday and I am into watching baking shows or that Antiques Road Show while I bake or clean. Even then it’s rare. I have a friend who does nothing but watch TV in his tiny, dark living room. It feel bad for him, except I know it is what he wants to do. Still, I fear living like that, where all I do is watch the boob tube all day. I have heard that watching TV is like painting your third eye with black paint. Agreed!

As I experienced the Now time, I felt that my retirement, or any time for that matter, would be a wonderful opportunity for me to explore all I have wanted to explore, but have not had the time. I rarely get out or engage with others, due to my needing and desiring to live in nature, in the boonies. It’s lovely but it is far from civilization. Needing nature but wanting to be social at the same time is polarizing. In the Now, I imagined myself going to a nearby city to learn about Shamanism, practice my tarot, join a nearby group, or go to the lovely farmer’s market where they have bands play as you shop for fresh produce. I imagined and could feel to my right and left time stretching out to infinity with me in the middle of this lovely tableau of life, feeling no pressure whatsoever. I finally felt free to do as I pleased and it was good.

The Now Time did not last long, but it was utterly delicious and I had no fear at all of the future. The experience gave me a totally new-to-me perspective. A new set of eyes to look out of. For me the Cosmic 2×4 had struck again. Yes it takes a lot to get me to pay attention. I know when I am experiencing something like this, the Universe/Spirit has been trying to get my attention in order to help me see something. It takes so much to get through to me due to my stubborn nature. This was not meditation, intuition, or insight. This was cosmic guidance. I wish I were a bit more aware so I could see things more easily. Then there would be no need to have me thrown off a horse, laid low with illness, or whatever else needed for me to slow down enough to see the world in a different light. Have you ever experienced time slowing down, or stopping, so you are just in the moment? If you have, I would love to hear about your experience.

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, Patty.

Animals do say ‘hello’ from the other side

The following is a letter I wrote to a local artist last January after my horse died unexpectedly. Eight months earlier I lost my first horse, and three months before that, my best ever dog. 

Dear Debi, I wanted to tell you about how much your painting of a white horse in moonlight, Dancing Moon, affected me when I saw it in a gallery the other day. I had to make the decision to have my white horse put down the day of the Blue Moon on Tuesday.

I believe animals give us the ‘all okay’ after they are gone. Yesterday I went to the vet to see my ‘sleeping’ Silver before he was taken. On the way back my friend and I were spent after two emotionally hard days. Since we had not eaten yet, we stopped at the Range Cafe. After the meal my friend wandered into the attached art gallery. He said “Hey Patty, look at what’s on the wall!” It was a painting of a gorgeous white horse in motion, neck arched and mane flying, blood red ribbon in his mane. He looked almost exactly like Silver would have in his prime. Same shape of the face and nose. We admired the painting, were a little amazed at it, and went home to get some rest as we felt like zombies after the two-day ordeal. 

It’s Wednesday morning 5:40 am and I am standing in my yard watching the full lunar eclipse with deep red moon. I have the image of a beautiful white horse jumping over a blood red moon. Your painting touched me very deeply. I thank you for painting it. I know it was a sign from my horse. Respectfully, Patty.

Three months after Silver left me during a blood red moon, a baby foal was born at my riding partner’s home four houses down. We had teased him about how fat his horse was getting, little knowing she was pregnant. Niña Surprise was born the day of a blood red sun! My heart rejoices! This is Niña on her birthday and she is only an hour old. Today she is a young lady, growing like a weed at six months old. Heart still rejoicing!

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Goodbye Soul Dog

It’s been just over three months that I let my soul dog, Google go forward to his journey off planet. He was 12 years and 8 months old. Not bad for a 72 lb dog. It was so hard to do, but I feel I had a very complete experience with him. I waited for a sign from him that it was time. Believe me, your animal will let you know when it is time.

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On his last day on the planet, I invited close friends to sit and visit with him out in the yard and the sunshine. All his dog friends were there and people came by to say goodbye. It was one of the very rare sunny days we had in a cloudy and cold early Spring. When it was time to go, we had to plan how to get him into the truck to get to the vet because of his severe arthritis and inability to move much. We decided to place his jumbo sized memory foam bed into the back of the pickup truck. Then three of us lifted him as gently as possible onto it. Then I got into the back of the truck with him and lay down behind him, hugging him and talking to him. I told him to look at the gorgeous sky of blue with tons of white fluffy clouds, and that he was a New Mexico dog for his whole life, and not to forget that. I saw him sniffing the air and still being curious about life.

The experience at the vet was very special. I stayed in the back of the truck with my dog hugging him. We agreed it was best to have it happen outside. Google was an outside dog and going inside the vet’s office would make him unnecessarily uncomfortable. My veterinarian is a member of the Jemez tribe. He said, “I am going to talk to Google. This is my Indian prayer.” He said a very special prayer speaking to my dog, in his tribe’s native language, before Google Doggen passed. This was so different than having someone pray over my dog. Then my vet interpreted the prayer and told me what he said. After everyone went back inside, I spent more time with his body, it was so hard to let go. I wanted a few more minutes to nuzzle his neck and dig my nose into his soft fur, like I had done so many times while he was alive.

At the crematorium I had several items picked out to go with him from home. I had a Mexican falsa blanket to wrap him in, some locally grown sage, incense sticks, and the most important item, his favorite old, deflated basketball. Hey if a dog spends his whole life chasing a basketball, he should get to have it in the end! I told the staff to ‘wrap him up like a burrito’ with all the items. Google deserved the best sendoff I could give him. I picked out a great urn, had it engraved, and also selected some jewelry where you can have some of the ashes inserted. One of those necklaces is hanging on the rear view mirror of my car, so he always rides along with me.

When you give it your all, for every part of the process, it helps with grief and loss. Don’t hide from any part of it. Be with your pet until the end. When you are fully present for the entire journey, it helps with grief and loss. Part of that experience was having him cremated and making a shrine in my home on a bookcase. Every week I buy fresh flowers at the grocery store. I have his old collar wrapped around his urn. It is a way to honor his memory, and still have him near me. It is hard to believe I can’t go out and find him in his usual spot under the porch, or pet him.

The Shamanic experience is about ‘soul retrieval’ for parts of your life you lost along the way—when your heart feels broken. What I did with Google Doggen was so complete that there is no part of my soul that needs retrieving. That is the best way to describe it. Yes, I miss him, but I feel so complete in his full experience here on earth, and with me, that I don’t have a heavy heart when I think of him. It’s finished. The feeling in my heart is light and free.

Sweet Dreams Google Doggen

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Morning prayer…answered in a nano-second

In the morning when I get in my car, I start my hour long journey to my job with a simple morning prayer. I got most of this from a friend, and modified it to suit myself. Here it is:

Angels of Love, Angels of Light, Angels of Mercy
All associated guides, my light worker team celestial crew and peeps,
Come be with me now that I may receive all the messages you are sending me. 
Please know I am in deepest gratitude for all you do to assist,
And I ask that you keep me in your every loving and protective care, 
So be it, it is so!

Then I have a dialogue with them regarding anything that I need help with, or am thankful for. It’s a nice conversation, and a very empowering and authentic way to start your day.

As I ended my prayer, my eyes were on my rear view mirror. Someone in a black sedan was almost IN my lane on top of me! Holy crap! A second later they swerved back into their lane at high speed. And I mean, their front end would have hit my rear drivers-side door they were so close. She must have been at least 90 because in mere seconds she was a dot on the horizon. She kept on going as if nothing happened. Never glanced my way, shrugged or made any sign that she almost killed both of us on a sunny Monday morning.

As the car passed me I wanted to see what person almost took me out of this life. It was a young woman, pushing her glasses back up on her nose. It’s an automatic reflex when you wear glasses that don’t fit well. Her car was packed to the rafters in the back seat, and she gave me no notice whatsoever. As if my life and hers meant nothing.

You would think my first feeling and reaction was anger. However, now that I have a more heart-centered feel for the world after my soul dog died a few weeks ago, the first thing out of my mouth was….

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

It was not lost on me that I had just asked my guides for protection. Trusted them. And went about my day. They were there for me and I am appreciative. I have never seen such a quick demonstration of protection or prayer answering in my life. It wasn’t lost on me, I am divinely protected! And I am humbled and gracious for the support.

Don’t forget to thank Spirit, your guides, your homies-in-spirit, your peeps, your light worker team. They are always there waiting for instruction. They offer no judgment, only support. Thank them. Talk to them. Plan great things with them. Do great things with them. Include them in all you do. Ask for specific help, things, support, ideas. Get granular, then step back and let them do their thing to assist. Believe me, they are ever present.

Love long and prosper.

Flow is the answer

This is more a reminder to me as it is to anyone else out there. I was under some pressure lately and found myself learning a few new things to make my situation much better. It started with something that really upset me on Sunday. I recall thinking I had ‘the whole rest of the week to get through’ and how was I going to manage? I was feeling so tired and down. This is not like me. I’m usually feeling that flow of life.

Well, how silly of me. How was it I already forgot that living in the moment mantra of mine? How did I so easily get sucked back into the ‘waking world’ and pulled away from my Spiritual self? Why was I assigning a bad flavor and a tired feeling to this block of time, a whole week, that had not even occurred yet? When I heard myself utter that phrase about having to get through the next week and it seemed like such a burden, I realized I had it all wrong. The answer was, and always will be, to live in each moment. It’s not a saying, it’s something you actually experience, on purpose. It’s something you can do.

I found my first real mindful moment was when I was doing dishes. When you live in the moment, as in doing dishes slowly and mindfully, time does not exist. You might find the same thing happen if you sweep the floor. Lovely meditation! That was when I had my first epiphany of slowing down and living in the moment. When I live in the moment—each moment—I feel happy and contented. I can always have this feeling if I keep it in mind. But when pressure looms, or things go off track, that’s when it is most needed, and easiest to forget. The learning and realization comes in just after the down period of life’s ups and downs where you have some hindsight. But that doesn’t help in the moment.

Like many, I have the responsibility five days out of seven to go to work. Being single puts the pressure on for me to provide for myself and my animals. Some days I feel tired and it’s only Monday, and I wonder how I’ll get through the week. But I know that’s an illusion. If I buy into that mindset, I have just ruined my whole week. That’s bullshit. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s bad juju and negative energy. Same with having a bad day. Don’t say you are having a bad day. Maybe say, you are having a bad moment. Whatever it is that feels bad, make it small! Make that change and lighten up. You have the power to make the rest of your day great. With a little reminder there is no problem because living moment to moment is the answer to dropping all that fake stress. It’s gone, poof! My reminder will be one word. Flow. (Thanks Kristin for that insight!)

So, a note to self is in order. Take each moment of each day and don’t worry about the next. It will take care of itself. Remember to be IN each moment fully and don’t worry about what comes next. Wash that one dish mindfully. Really BE there. Get into the task at hand. Work on what is in front of you. Feel the flow, don’t fight the day. Don’t worry about the next thing. I know there will be times in the future where I will forget and be all caught up in the illusion of stress and worry and feeling rushed. I’m human just like you. Let’s all remind each other to live in the moment and stop stressing about the next moment, hour, day, or week. Just let it go and be in flow. Okay? Okay!

 

When Things Get Tough: What’s Your Self Care Plan?

In previous posts I have talked about creating good habits, modifying your life as you go, and getting a good self-care plan going. Well now I have one to share. The past six weeks have been difficult but not impossible. I was handling everything okay until one thing sent me over the top. Only then did I realized I needed to take a good, serious look at my self-care routine. Remember no one is bulletproof. Realizing you have to slow your roll actually leads to growth (thanks Al!). If you find this happens more frequently for you than for others, don’t sweat it. You are learning what you need to do to be a Spiritual Being living in the waking world. Constantly modifying your life or your routine is good for you and good for everyone around you. 

The items in this blog post are the things I need to do when I feel super stressed and ready to pop. For me these items are key areas to be given attention. I hope this works for you as well. 

First a note on establishing new habits because that’s the basis of making change in your life stick. Hint: It’s a built-in part of being human. The urge to do things habitually is very strong in humans. In fact I would venture to say it is hard wired in us. Use this urge to your advantage. New things can be incorporated in your life without much thought. With all my animals to care for, my long commute, my full time job, almost anything extra can seem impossible. I make things habitual so they seamlessly fit into my life. Have a routine down. Change it when it does not work. Modify your world to suit you. 

  1. What’s Your Energetic WEATHER REPORT Today? First thing in the morning take note what you feel like energetically. Storms on the horizon? Grumpy with a chance of rain? Giddy with clear skies? Moderate your energy when needed. Even being upbeat and happy to the point where you can’t focus is not good. Plan your day accordingly. Don’t fight the day, find the flow. 
  2. Rely on Your Friends and ask for help when you need it. Throughout this post are tidbits of wisdom I have received from friends. No one lives life alone. We are all in this together. Ask for help when you need it. I tend to forget this until someone bangs me on the head with a 2×4. 
  3. Schedule Daily Relaxation Time as if it were a matter of life or death. R&R is mandatory. It is not extra or to be considered splurging. Relaxation is of paramount importance especially with a grueling schedule. If you have reached rock bottom, or close to it, you must make time for it now. It’s the quickest way to destress. You need your sanity for functioning normally. Do your de-stressing by yourself, not with a bunch of friends. No alcohol either, that will only drain you. As much as I love a glass of wine or a good dark beer, I have found alcohol to be a total energy drain. It’s not something that makes me feel better. If you are at a low point and you need TLC, alcohol has no place. If you are feeling fine, go for it but take it easy.
    Find a relaxing activity: I Read a lot of books and take a lot of hot baths. The baths relax me and reading gets me that entertainment and escapism I need and look forward to. Schedule it into your week, seriously. For me Monday evening is always bath and reading night. My brother watches Antiques Road Show (very low stress and very entertaining), while lounging in his jammies every Monday night. It’s a great way to treat yourself after the first working day of the week. Maybe you like doing puzzles or walking or Tai Chi  or Yoga. Whatever floats your boat and your mood!
    Don’t forget about the restorative powers of water. Recently I was urged by a friend to take a shower or bath when I was exhausted and dead to the world. I started out totally exhausted, but when I was done, I felt so energized. I was amazed.
  4. Find Time to Meditate. Meditate on top of doing other relaxing activities as outlined above. Meditation helps you get to know the real you at your core, and helps you throughout your day in ways you may not be aware of.  I use an application on my computer and phone called Headspace for meditating. A friend turned me on to it. The interface is great, easy,  and intuitive. You can choose the length of time to meditate, and the subject. It is free for a while and then the yearly cost is $79. Well worth it for peace of mind. You can do it before work, or with the phone app, at lunch or during a break. Find something relaxing that you enjoy. I meditate for only 10 minutes a day. Better than not doing it at all!
  5. Get Enough Sleep. The one most important thing to good health is getting enough sleep. If you must have meds, try an anti-anxiety which works for the first few hours to relax you, not a ‘sleeping pill’. Those will only knock you out and you won’t feel well rested at all. In fact, the next day you will feel worse. Naturally consult your doctor. I’m not one and I don’t play one on TV. (That’s an old Marcus Welby joke.) Find drinks like warm milk (or warm coconut milk) just before bed. There is a great paleo drink for insomnia on the internet that went viral.
  6. Keep Electronics Usage to a Minimum Plan two or three evenings per week without these. Turn them off totally and as Bugs Bunny would say “Really and for true!”
    Get the TV out of your bedroom and watch a lot less than you do now. Much of it is mindless activity that does not refresh you. Trust me on this one. I thought I had to have my TV in the bedroom. The day I moved it to my living room I slept so well! I was able to relax instead of binge watching useless, crappy TV. That’s just mindless and not even entertaining. All it did was suck the life juices out of me.
    Stop watching shows or movies that make you uncomfortable or give you bad vibes, even if they are high quality shows. Example: I was watching two different masterpiece theater shows on PBS on Sunday. The running thread through both of them were that women were second class citizens and/or being abused in some way. This show generated a lot of negative, uneasy energy in me. Even if it is ‘historical, has good costumes and actors, and lots of horses, the energy created by the storyline still comes out of the screen, and your body will resonate with that negativity. If it makes you uneasy, you don’t need it. Listen to your body, it knows what you need.
    Watch TV shows you pick on Netflix, don’t just mindlessly surf.
    Phone (if you have to keep it on for emergencies, spouse/kids, at least turn off noisy notifications for chat & email and keep the phone on buzz.) I tell my friends not to call after 8pm. They know I go to sleep early.
    Internet/Computer/Social media Wasting time in front of the computer or your smartphone sucks your good energy out and drains you. Unless you are vigilant about what you are doing online, and few of us are. Keep as free of electronic devices—as tempting and handy as they are—as much as you can once you are home. Home is for nesting and relaxing. If you like to read quality blogs, do so. I can’t because I’ve been in front of a computer all day and I can’t possibly do any more at night.
  7. Practice GOOD Nutrition Don’t eat from stress, this can be a lifelong project, depending on who you are. I eat lots of pasta when I am stressing. I eat Chocolate for a diversion at work. For me food has been a lifelong struggle to get right. Slowly but surely, I’m finally changing my habits from bad to good. I tried being vegetarian and vegan years ago. Didn’t work. Don’t go cold turkey. Try one new thing every week. Don’t beat yourself up. I’m not a vegetarian but many of my meals are.
    Keep it simple and Start Small. On Sunday I roast a whole chicken in the oven and fill the oven with sweet potatoes, acorn and butternut squash. This feeds me for a long time and is easier than pie! 🙂 Slowly incorporate good habits. Use a crockpot once a week for quick meals that are easy, hearty, and filling. I started making morning shakes with a bullet blender. It was $40, not $140 like some are. So it was not a big investment of money and it takes up almost no space.
    If you are urban, find a few good, healthy restaurants with simple atmosphere and go a few times a week if you are too stressed to cook. Keep it simple to keep the bill down, but enjoy and take advantage of someone else cooking for you and doing those dishes! I love Indian or Thai restaurants. Since I live far from town, it’s a treat for me.
  8. Be a Staunch Guardian of Your Free Time If someone invites themselves over, have your canned response ready: “I can’t today, Church of Patty!” That’s my phrase for telling people I want to be alone. Most of my friends are familiar with what Church of Patty means. It means I need or want to be left alone and I will not go anywhere in my car. Or I say, “I would love to but I really don’t have time today. Maybe you can have me over to your home some day soon?” Which puts them in the hot seat and takes you off the hook.  
  9. Learn to Say ‘No’ Confidently and Politely Don’t be tricked into doing something you don’t want to do. This goes with the previous topic of being protective of your free time. Don’t get duped into doing favors for people if you don’t want to. Learn to respond to people who (sometimes unknowingly) manipulate you into doing something for them. Some people do not mean to trick you, but they operate that way. It may not be malicious on their part. The following is a classic exchange:The Wrong Way
    Friend: “What are you doing Saturday?”
    You: “Oh nothing much. The usual.”
    Friend: “Great! You can come help with my rummage sale! Be at my place at 7am with tape and markers and don’t forget to bring some coffee and your lunch. I need you to stay till 9pm and help me put all the stuff that didn’t sell in the garage. I have a bad back and I really, really need you. This will be an all day thing and it will be so fun! I am so excited!”
    You: [That Deputy Dog look of, oh no what have I gotten myself into!]The Right Way
    Friend: “What are you doing Saturday?”
    You: “Oh I have a full schedule, why do you ask?” (said as politely as possible.)
    Friend: “I have a rummage sale and I really need your help. I am really counting on you.”
    You: “Let me see, I can possibly stop by between noon and two. I am not certain so I’ll have to check. Let me get back to you on that. The rest of my weekend is spoken for.”
    Friend: “Great! Let me know! I really appreciate any help.”
    You: That great feeling of satisfaction that you weren’t roped into doing something unexpected, even if it was for a good friend or a good cause. You have the free time you need, and if you want, you can help out a bit—but on your terms. Your life is yours to run. You feel great!
  10. Learn to Answer Quickly with Confidence in a way that tells the other party your time is valuable. There are many creative and friendly ways to say no. I learned these in a class on handling conflict years ago. Learn where the verbal traps are and have an answer ready. Practice. And I mean in front of the mirror or with a good friend. You will enjoy getting better at polite, to the point replies.
  11. Avoid Busy Bodies Like the Plague. Don’t listen to people who make everything into a drama, or look to stir the pot. Even if their cause sounds good. Think about whether or not they are interfering in another person’s life. Stop listening to them, or change the subject. Often these people are not mean, but they love to get things going. Either cut them out of your life as much as possible, or learn to shut them down when the gossip mill gets going. If you are good at it you can be polite but firm and say “Hey this sounds like gossip and I don’t participate in that. Too much negativity for me! Say, I’ve been dying for your recipe for Chai tea. I’d love it!” Be up front if you have to and change the subject instantly. Boom, you are out of it.
  12. Communicate Clearly. Or as Mom would say, make your wishes known! Don’t mumble. Do speak clearly, and get to the point. Don’t assume. Don’t complain. It’s the worst thing you can do to lower your vibe and your energy. And it only makes you feel worse when you are done. Having clear communication is important to not feeling or being stressed out. Know your mind. Let others know where they stand with you.
  13. Look for the GOOD in Every Situation Look for ‘flipping it’ in every situation. I forget to do this too! My class offers many tools to help live life in the moment.
  14. Urgency is Overrated. Yes. It is. Really. A friend said this to me and when she did, my whole life flashed before my eyes, like that time warp in the  movie Ratatouille when the evil food critic takes a bite of the dish and is instantly transported to his childhood. I realized almost every single aspect of my life I was treating with great urgency. Especially if it had to do with everyone except me! I was living a life of urgency supporting others. I was the last person/thing on my list of priorities. The first rule of giving care to others is, the caregiver (you) needs care first and foremost.

*** Aids for a better life ***

Use a wall calendar specially for anything that does not happen every day. This is great for kids sports schedules. I have a calendar for horse and dog care in the kitchen. When is the farrier coming? When did the dogs get their last heartworm meds? Senior animals and people need special care. It helps to have a calendar in front of you in the kitchen. I could not function without mine.

Use an electronic calendar to schedule your private time, just like it is any other engagement. That way you get your time to relax and unwind. Time to relax is absolutely imperative. Trust me, this is really a great idea.

Have dry erase markers near mirrors, especially in the bathroom for quick, late night notes. You’ll sleep better this way.

Feel free to share any self-care routines you have, that work for you. 

Strange energies abound—How about you?

The following is mostly word-for-word between myself and a long time friend. It pretty much describes the feeling of being in a holding pattern, being involved, yet not seeming to get anywhere despite lots of work. Not quite stuck, but not going anywhere yet. Experiencing some of the crazy energy patterns at this time of great change. My friends response to me was articulate in a way that is clearer than I could have described it. Plus she hit the nail on the head several times. Read on.

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Dear Faye,

I have this feeling of not being able to land….and flying round in the air instead. Yup. That’s the stuck feeling I have been in for a while. Stuck is really too harsh a word. It’s more like a holding pattern. I feel like I’m doing everything right, but things are not aligned yet. Much is happening on many fronts, but I don’t feel like I am moving forward exactly. It does not feel wrong by any means. I can’t go back to where I was, and going forward is not quite ‘a go’ even though I know what I need to do. I also feel exhaustion off and on. Mostly on. What’s your take on it? Are you experiencing the same thing?

Dear Patty,

This energy lately has been hard. That’s the only word I have for it. I can see everyone around me stressed all at the same time. Sometimes interactions are coming out sideways.

I know that every moment there is a choice to buy into the negative expiring energy or relax and find the fresh and new. Sometimes I fall back into patterns and “everything sucks, this isn’t fair, etc.” Other times I am able to take a breath and rise above. Either way it’s hard to stay unaffected.

It’s feels like watching that storm happening outside. You know you are inside where it is warm and dry. You know it’s unlikely a tree will fall on your house or a tornado will tear off your roof, but you still can’t really relax until the storm passes.

Interesting thing is that I am noticing more and more people that seem asleep. I don’t know if that means I am becoming more aware or just that energy changes are highlighting things.

The other day I needed to drive downtown. I was passed by a car going too fast who cut me off. You know the situation: I’m following a car going the speed of traffic, who is following another car ahead of you, etc., etc. There really is nowhere to go faster than the crowd, but yet, this person just “needs” to pass you because you’re not going fast enough. We drove together for 20 minutes. I went the speed of traffic. They tried to pass and weave and get ahead. We arrived down town literally side-by-side, but I think we had much different trips.

I’m trying really hard to not be the person in that car who is not recognizing that they have a choice. They are only making it difficult for themselves and less enjoyable for others traveling with them.

I resonated so deeply with her response. She said it better than I could have. I loved to hear her perspective on things since we seem to have parallel experiences in the Jungles of Time and Space. The storm analogy gave me chills and I felt that was true for me. I feel like I am part of a huge worldwide energy storm, witnessing it in action as I sit on the sidelines in wonder and awe. Sometimes I have to get dressed in my mukluks and macintosh and go out and be in that storm. Sometimes I can sit on the sidelines. One thing is true, no one can get out from under what we are experiencing now. We are all in it. Some feel safer than others and some are more affected by it. Some days are great, some days I’m Dorothy in the cyclone.

The story of the driver of the other car is a great reminder to me to slow down my thinking and return to center when I am in a panic. Being in a panic is not being very grounded or spiritually connected. It happens to all of us. It’s a crazy disjointed way to expend energy since you can’t get to where you want to go any faster than the ‘traffic’ around you. I have to remind myself what is going on in the outer world is not always serving the highest good, and to take note of it, and act/or not, accordingly. I hate it when I have relapses of panic or frustration. They seem to happen almost daily with life’s little ups and downs. It feels a little embarrassing to lose my cool or get flustered. Conversely if I see others in a panic, rage, frustrated or doing other similar activities, I like to be the space for them to do what they need to, and send love. 

This is another way meditation helps. As soon as you notice you are off track, gently return to center without judgment. My image is like moving a bubble with a feather. Gently acknowledge you were off track and return to grace. You can do this anytime, not just in meditation. That’s as graceful as it gets. Every time you return to center is a victory. Even if you feel you were the bull in the China shop. Every time you return to center makes it easier to do it next time. And it energetically helps everyone else.

Make some small movement and things that have felt stuck will eventually shift. Give it time. keep forging ahead in little ways each day. There will be periods of rest that seem like stagnation. Nothing is stagnant. Trust me on this. Every day I do get better and better. Some days I feel the weight of many more years of ‘stuff’ to get through. Some days I feel like I am one of the lucky ones to be on earth at this time. Elated, energized and ready to rock!

If you need inspiration, keep in mind it’s not just all about you, or me, or one individual. It’s not even just about your town, the country or the planet. Spirit is always learning from us. I always think of it this way, Spirit is helping us and we are the ones in the trenches. They admire us for being on the front lines. You are a trailblazer right along with the best of them. So keep on keepin’ on, and be good to your fellow travelers along the way.

Note to self: Begging is not co-creating

Funny how a simple statement like the headline above has to be learned. Last week Friday I discovered all three dogs had cattle ticks deep in their ears. In the past they have had to go under anesthesia to remove ticks from the ear drum. Expensive time consuming, hard on the animal, and disruptive. Situations like these can bring on a mild panic. My regular vet was out of town so I had to make some calls. Finally I found a place that would take all three dogs. Small miracle! As a friend put it, I did a great job of co-creating to make that happen, through a passionate heart. (I love feedback like that.) So far so good.

As the day unfolded, what would normally be a stressful situation was somehow okay. I noticed a small tug when I felt panic rising about what could be an expensive, time consuming aftercare nightmare. This tug I felt made me feel more grounded. More calm. I gave credit to this new feeling to meditating regularly using Headspace. (Thanks Judy!) Meditating is relatively new for me and without the Headspace app, it would not be possible. As a result I am making progress in handling what life throws me. I am continually finding places to improve that will help me feel more grounded in all situations. Life takes practice. Often one small step at a time.

After the vet visit, in my rush to get back home, I realized one dog had no ticks but still had ear problems and I had not discussed it with the vet. The pain would send my dog rocketing across the room in a fright. Through the weekend we were unable to sleep. Monday I took him to the vet again, and we decided to have him neutered while he was under anesthesia for the ear checkup. It was long overdue and would be nice to get that out of the way.

Life can be stressful with a recovering animal. This particular pet goes into freakout mode so easily. I live 42 miles from work (one way). I spend time planning and making sure everything’s hunky dory so I can care for my pets and fit the rest of life in there somehow. I can’t run an errand or grocery shop with a pet in the car it’s too hot here yet. Too much activity wears me out. I needed to be able to care for my dog, Goat Cheese, and have a clear mind for my job. (Cochise is his name, but it’s hard for many to pronounce, so we call him Goat Cheese.) I had already taken most of Friday off for the first dog emergency and I felt bad about having to take more time off. Time to talk to Spirit.

As I was driving to the vet to pick up Goat Cheese after his surgery, I was talking to Spirit asking “Please make sure everything is great….so I don’t freak out. So I can handle it.” But I stopped mid sentence and changed my mind altogether. My plea did not sound right. I thought, hey let’s do it a new way instead. Let’s confirm with Spirit that I will handle anything that comes my way. Small changes can bring big results. My new wording was a complete reversal. Asking for things to be okay is begging and that didn’t feel right to me. By changing my verbiage, I am affirming with with Spirit that I will be able to handle anything, as in “I can do this.” This felt much more positive, light and happy. In fact it felt very freeing! I was filled with confidence and I was happy! You can’t help but be happy when you know you can handle anything. This was a way of positively anticipating feelings of groundlessness or anything contrary to the norm. More growth!

Spiritually minded people know the time of duality is ending and oneness is coming. But right now we are all in the trenches, and life is going to present us with a lot of chaos. No one wants this. We all want a relatively stress free life. But we all know that is not how life is at the moment. Anything that is out of sync, possibly stressful can be upsetting emotionally. We all want to go back to our normal routine for that feeling of safety and security. For me, I hate it when any of my animals is sick or hurt. They are my kids. It is another Achilles Heel. Since I teach others to handle life with grace and ease, I ought to practice what I preach. I realized mid-sentence that begging is not a great way of co-creating. To ask or beg is to be in reactive mode, not in co-creative mode. Now we’re cooking with gas! This changes everything. It empowers, thrills and delights!

Having blogged about this previously, it can’t hurt to remind my readers that putting new habits into practice can be an ongoing process. It takes time to make a new behavior and a new mindset and way of life. No one is perfect, especially me!

“For years I have read about, and really tried integrating this mindfulness into everyday life. But life has a way of making you rushed and crazy sometimes…It’s going to take some time for it to really come home to roost. I’m not yet at the point of 24/7 mindfulness or totally unstressed life. But, coming a little closer to it doesn’t suck!”

I also recently talked about the obvious solution to feeling rushed off your feet here, so why am I still needing to improve when I already know the answer?  Because I am a spiritual being in human body. We need time to really incorporate things we know (intellectually) into our lives until we get it on a whole other level, a soul level. Practice makes perfect, unless you have an a-ha moment. That’s instant!

Learning to handle stressful situations by dumping the idea of being panicked is something I will work on until I get it. It’s all I have talked about to others: Living in the moment, being the author of your life, dropping the worry, not jumping to conclusions, trusting that Spirit has my back, flipping it, and so on. This time I was a little closer. I felt a little better and a little more grounded. Good co-creating means learning to tackle your demons along the way. Tackling these demons can become some of the most freeing moments of your life.